First-year Curriculum

Throughout your first semesters, we recommend you explore new intellectual territories by taking a broad range of liberal arts courses. The First Year Curriculum offers academic seminars structured to introduce students to a range of disciplines and the modes of inquiry. Seminars are forums for you to investigate subjects in depth and to participate in intense discussions with your classmates and faculty. They also provide you with opportunities to develop analytic skills to negotiate the different perspectives of your peers.

First Year Writing

All freshmen are required to fulfill two semesters of expository writing: Writing the Essay 1 and Writing the Essay 2 (4 credits each).

Writing the Essay 1 is an intensive seminar for first-year students to help them develop their ideas through reading and writing. Instructors choose literary topics based on their interests and expertise. The topics, which range in scope and approach, are geared toward the work of crafting and revising essays. Students experiment with a variety of expository and creative styles and proceed throughout the semester from familiar writing (the personal essay) to more analytical writing (the critical essay). You should emerge from this course with more confidence in the process of formulating, developing, and expressing your ideas with the written word.

In Writing the Essay 2, students resume the work of the first course with activities that develop clear and forceful prose style through close reading and consistent writing and revision. Students are expected to learn research methods and produce at least one in-depth essay that requires library research. Each section of the course may focus on a specific discipline—such as literary criticism, psychology, or cultural studies—and its mode of essay writing (with reading and inquiry conducted at a higher level than in the previous semester). Writing the Essay 2 prepares students for the challenges of writing in a variety of concentrations since expectations often differ among the disciplines.

First-Year Workshop

The first semester in college is a challenging one. So much is new and unfamiliar: new living arrangements, a new community of students, increased responsibilities, and greater academic challenges. The First-Year Workshop provides students with support and guidance vital to academic success, and promotes both reflection and engagement. The workshop encourages students to acquire and develop skills in areas including time management, stress management, critical thinking, communication, and personal health. In addition, it provides a forum for thought-provoking discussions about the educational experience. These workshops are taught by peer advisors who are called seminar fellows.

Workshop topics reflect the transitional and developmental issues often confronted by first-year students. Classes are supplemented by an array of articles and events. The First-Year Workshop includes several short assignments.

Advising Seminars

The advising seminar is a regular academic class in which the instructor of the course is the faculty advisor for the registered students. The faculty advisor meets with students throughout the semester to discuss everything from academic policies to personal adjustment to college. The faculty advisor may also arrange individual or group appointments outside of class, or reserve class time to discuss matters such as spring registration. All first-year students must be registered in an advising course to ensure an advisor is properly assigned.

Reading NYC

At Lang, all first-year students register for Reading NYC courses in the spring semester. One reason many students attend Lang is because it is in New York City. These courses introduce freshmen to ways of thinking about the city and using the city as a laboratory for considering literature, immigration, urban planning, theater, and many other fields. Through these courses, you become acquainted with and experience the city in alternative ways. Reading NYC allows you to take the full advantage of your education at Lang. They are full semester two-credit courses that meet once a week. In Spring 2009 course offerings include:

  • Dance in the city
  • Green NYC
  • Latino New York
  • The Piano: Culture and History
  • Poet in New York
  • Psychology in a City of Immigrants
  • Religious Geography of New York
  • Scenes of Recognition: Philosophy in the City
  • The Visual Landscape: Duality, Difference, and the Modern


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